One of the most beautiful fishes and at the same time one of the most easies overseen is the Wrasse . These common Reef fishes swim around in the water column and build the ground noise on many reefs and rubble patches of the Lembeh Strait. The most stunning ones are the Flasher Wrasses. Only when the male Flasher Wrasses flash their fins the beauty can be seen. There are several species of Flasher Wrasses commonly seen in Lembeh Strait: one of them is the Filamented Flasher Wrasse (Paracheilinus filamentosus). They grow to about 8cm in size in live in groups swimming over rubble patches in about 5 to 40m depth. They can be just some few individuals up to large schools. The male Filamented Flasher Wrasse diplays its colours by flashing its fins: Either to impress females or to show off in front of the other males. When they do so all colours of the rainbow can be seen … Red, Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue and also some purple. By 5-6 Colourful filaments on the dorsal fin this species can be easily recognised. The females or younger males are less spectacular coloured and swim amongst the adult males.
To shoot male Flasher wrasses displaying their fins you need to choose a good spot with a reasonable number of individuals (More Wrasses = more Flashing). Plus you need to pick a time when there is a slight current – it is easier to shoot them when they face a mild current (too strong is also not good as it is hard to shoot then). On shallow sites often the later afternoon is better – but on deeper spots they almost always display their fins. Shooting Flashers is tricky as they swim around quite quickly and change directions in a unpredictable way when they display their fins. You will be shooting at about 40-50 cm distance so need to choose a long Macro Lens (100mm for APS-C / 150mm for Full Frame) and bring your strobes far forward and point them slightly outwards to avoid backscatter. Put the strobes on full power and bump your ISO up a bit … then choose the smallest aperture possible to gain depth of field. How far you can close depends on your ISO and the power of your strobes – big guns are highly recommended 😉 To shoot either use AF Tracking or pre focus with AF on separate button and follow (that’s how i do it).
Good Places to shoot Flasher wrasses are all dive sites with deeper rubble patches: Nudi Falls, Critter Hunt, Sarea Patah, Tandu Rusa 2, Bianca etc.